How to Use Negative Restaurant Reviews to Drive Growth And Revenue

How to Use Negative Restaurant Reviews to Drive Growth And Revenue

It is true that in the restaurant business, the importance of word-of-mouth can’t be underestimated. Whether it is through a feedback form or a small interaction with the restaurant manager, an honest customer review always helps in improving the organization’s services for continued growth.

negative restaurant reviews

In this digital time and age, restaurants rely heavily on online reviews. Today, it is the number of positive online customer reviews that drives the organization’s revenues. But what if the reviews are negative?

Here’s how you can use negative restaurant reviews to tap into potential business:

1. Instant response to feedback

Got a bad review? Don’t fret! Take immediate steps to respond. Be proactive in executing a response strategy while handling negative reviews. If possible, assign someone to respond to customer feedback on a daily basis.

When a restaurant is quick in responding, it shows a high level of dedication to the customer. The goal of “simply” responding to reviews is enough to develop customer loyalty. So, deal with such situations with sincerity.

Drop a friendly email. First, thank the customer for taking out time to review your restaurant. Then, apologize to him or her for the inconvenience caused. If you can reach out to your unhappy customers personally, there’s nothing like it!

Also, train your servers to ask for a feedback when the customers are paying the bill or having a meal. This will highlight the fact that you not only care about them but also are open to listening to customer suggestions and complaints.

2. Revise menu items

Improvisation is the key to success in the restaurant business. Online reviews can give you fresh ideas for menu items. Similarly, if one particular cuisine has been disliked by many, you can remove that from the menu altogether.

In fact, by doing so you will always retain an element of surprise for your customers—which in turn will drive your profits and thus assist in a sustainable restaurant business. So keep revising the menu to “surprise” and “delight” your customers!

Another interesting scheme you can apply here can include asking the customers (with negative reviews) about specific cuisines or beverages they would like to see on the menu. You can call for their opinion on those platforms where they have left a review about your restaurant itself (such as food search and discovery platforms, social media channels or restaurant website).

Once the customers start feeling they matter to your restaurant, your restaurant will start mattering to them. It’s that simple!

3. Offer incentives to customers with negative reviews

A smart marketing strategy is one which re-targets all the customers—including the ones who were not particularly impressed with your restaurant. Your mission should be to steer your marketing efforts to encourage the ones with bad reviews to visit the restaurant again.

It is not as difficult as it sounds. Ask them for a second chance to make things right by offering them attractive incentives. They can either be monetary or nonmonetary—depending upon the damage done. Give a 10% discount on their next meal or please them with a free appetizer or dessert (today’s special).

No one says “no” to free food or an affordable check. Initiate this strategy to win the hearts of the customers genuinely. If you incentivize your efforts to convert the negative reviews into positive ones, don’t!

4. Promote your restaurant

Why? This is because promoting your business will encourage prospective customers to visit at least once. Not only this, make use of tools such as Google+ and Facebook to invite customers, who have been to your restaurant, to review and leave feedback.

Maintain a proper online website and hyperlink your social media pages and blogs (if any) to give a complete understanding of your restaurant. A digital presence is extremely important to your reputation as it will showcase you as a business that is easily approachable. And, this is one quality is a must in the service business.

Engage in a humble conduct and try to generate a positive publicity for your business. This will overshadow the occasional negative reviews and give you the time and space to rectify them properly.

Apart from this, use your website to establish communication with your customers and keep them informed about special menus, additional cuisines, daily deals, price changes and announcements about events at your restaurant.

Negative reviews are everywhere. Your restaurant can’t hide from negativity. It can’t function flawlessly. No matter how good the business is, your restaurant can’t ensure the happiness of all customers. So yes, negative reviews are inevitable but they can work to your advantage, provided you embrace them with confidence and sincerity.

Think of reviews as customer research. You can certainly extract valuable insights that can be used to accelerate your restaurant’s business development and profits. Remember: It’s all about maintaining the right kind of attitude!

Now, all of these can be done manually by visiting each social media and review sites, but it is certainly time consuming. And to be honest, it’s just not sustainable!

Another alternative is to use a free analytics software which will pull all the reviews from relevant sites and present to you in an easy-to-read dashboard. You can use the data from the dashboard to improve your menu, get insights on your servers and ultimately provide a better customer experience.

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